Heartworm disease is a serious and often fatal problem that plagues the Austin area year round. Spread by mosquitos, the worms most commonly affect dogs, but felines are also at risk. The problem starts by an infection of the lungs which can spread into the heart. Although it is easily preventable by giving a monthly chew tab to pets, heartworm disease takes weeks to treat and is rather costly.
The Austin German Shepherd Rescue (also known as Austin German Shepherd Dog Rescue or AGSDR) held a fundraiser in February to spread awareness of the continuing problem of heartworm disease. According to the KVUE news story (http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/fundraiser-to-combat-heartworms-in-dogs), 80% of the German Shepherds taken to the shelter test positive for heartworms.
This is an alarmingly high statistic, and even more shocking is that it pertains to a single breed in Austin. While there is not an easy method to control the mosquito population in Central Texas, we can medicate pets and insure veterinary checkups to prevent such a painful and debilitating parasite.
Although the fundraiser for heartworm awareness is over, the AGSDR is accepting old electronics for recycling to help fund daily needs for the shelter. Welcomed donations include iPods and digital cameras, old game systems, used/broken cell phones, or ink-jet cartridges. This is a great way to rid your house (while helping save the lives of local dogs) of these types of items that do not belong in the dump. Their website gives details on how to donate electronics and other necessities to the shelter: http://www.austingermanshepherdrescue.org/Donations/donate_items.htm